Theoretical Origins of Concept Maps, How to Construct Them, and Uses in Education


Concept maps, as we define them, are graphical tools for organizing and representing relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts. Concepts and propositions are usually organized hierarchically, from most general, most inclusive to most specific. It is best to construct concept maps with reference to some particular question we seek to answer, which we have called a focus question. The concept map may pertain to some situation or event that we are trying to understand through the organization of knowledge in the form of a concept map, thus providing the context for the concept map.

In this paper we briefly present the origins and theoretical foundations of concept maps, explain how concept maps are constructed, and then show how the integration of concept maps with technology in software such as CmapTools facilitates the implementation of concept map-based learning environments that support our New Model for Education. Last, examples from three domains are used to describe how concept maps can be used to organize content based on the knowledge of domain experts, creating an environment that is easy to navigate for learners.

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Editor-in-Chief: Prof Norbert Pachler
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
ISSN 1746-9082